Larry Page’s $100 million “flying car” we saw in 2017 never quite got off the ground. However, that company, called Kitty Hawk, would end up being the seed of another created in 2019 and called Wisk Aero. This startup was also formed with an important partner: Boeing.
Wisk Aero aims to develop autonomous air taxis, and Boeing just invested another 450 million dollars in the company. The startup hopes to have an operational air taxi within the next five years. One that will fly a lot, by the way.
A vision that will take (at least) five years to fulfill
According to those responsible for Wisk, with this investment they will be able to significantly expand their workforce of 350 people and accelerate the start-up of an autonomous air taxi service. The goal is to have it ready in five years, and for its fleet of taxis to offer 14 million annual flights in about 20 countries around the world with zero emissions.
That, of course, if the regulatory authorities give the go-ahead. In the United States, the FAA has not validated any electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, while in Europe it is not expected to have a regulatory framework until at least 2023.
In the old continent there are projects already underway that will be tested in Spain, with projects from companies such as Uber or the startup Lilium as protagonists. Boeing’s investment is unique, especially considering that another home effort called the Boeing NeXT was rumored to be going through trouble.
What seems clear is that Boeing is confident in the future of aircraft such as Cora, the first developed by Wisk and which is a curious hybrid between a drone, a helicopter and an airplane.
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